Monday, September 29, 2008

Report from ... The French Wine Study – September 27, 2008

The French spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to conduct a study to confirm every single stereotype about French wine you can think of: it is perceived as snobby, elitist and expensive; except in Quebec, where it is seen as exhibiting traditional French values and is priced fairly. What the French really spent that money on was to show that we Canadians are a divided lot: what goes for Quebec does not go for Ontario and it certainly isn’t true in Western Canada … and nobody drinks wine East of Quebec. At least that is the perception I took away from the French wine study conducted by Sopexa and Wines of France and revealed this morning in what seems to be a condemned building turned into an art studio (The Burroughs Building on Queen Street).

Now maybe I’m being a little bit facetious about the whole thing … certainly not all Canadians see French wine as elitist and expensive, but they sure do in B.C. I have met plenty to French winemakers and I find them to be congenial and forthright and passionate about their land, their wine and their country. But what does the rest of the world think of them – more importantly, what do Canadians believe about French wine? In an effort to find out and see where their market is, Wines of France set out to find out.

First, a little general knowledge about us as a nation: The 18-34 age group is looking for convenience in their wine, price is most important and wine is used as social lubricant. 35-54 are the most sophisticated and curious about wine, they are also more educated about wine and want new horizons opened to them. If you are 55+ you are more structured, conventional and health conscious.

Appreciation of French wines is diverse across the country, although we all seem to like and know them. Appreciation is highest in Quebec, which scored at 8 out of 10, the national average was 7.4; but they are also perceived as expensive throughout the country (66% in Ontario, 78% in B.C.) except in Quebec (47%) where French wine seems to go on “promotion” or sale more; this is not surprising considering that 60+% of the SAQ’s (Quebec liquor stores) inventory is French wine.

Availability of French wine is perceived highest in Quebec (77%) as oppose to Ontario (61%) and B.C. (50%) and the widest variety is, you guessed it, Quebec (84%).

Funny statistic, the study says we as a nation drink more “Canadian” wine, but they did not differentiate between the VQA (100% Canadian) and the Cellared in Canada (blended with foreign wines) crap … thus this number is skewed and can’t be taken as valid. Though, having just visited British Columbia I can tell you their number is probably closer to VQA than ours in Ontario; and quality numbers they throew at us were also quite funny: 66% of Ontarians see French wine as quality wine while only 55% thought Canadian wine was; in B.C. the numbers are much higher, 69% see the French as having wines of quality, while their own homemade brew (wine) ranked a whopping 67%. Not surprising if you see the jingoist view they have of their own wines … and good for them – we should have that here in Ontario. But I digress.

Bottom line, the French want to know what they can do to make us all drink more French wine … while I agree that French wine is a good choice, what I would really like to know is how do we get more Ontarians to drink Ontario wine, do you think the Wine Council of Ontario will fund that study – I doubt it, but it would be nice if they did; even with a little help from the government (but that would mean the LCBO) and I don’t see that coming very soon.

1 comment:

Dean Tudor said...

Speaking of stereotypes, are not ALL condemned buildings turned into art galleries, and, sometimes, lofts?